Archive for November, 2007

Nazi archives finally made public

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A vast archive of German war records opened its doors to the public Wednesday, giving historians and Holocaust survivors who have waited more than 60 years access to concentration camp records detailing Nazi horrors. The 11 countries that oversee the archive of the International Tracing Service have finished ratifying an accord unsealing some 50 million pages kept in the German town of Bad Arolsen, ITS director Reto Meister said Wednesday.

“The ratification process is complete,” said Meister, whose organization is part of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“We are there. The doors are open,” he said, speaking by telephone while visiting the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial with a delegation of U.S. congressional staff members.

Greece was the last of the 11 to formally file its ratification papers with the German Foreign Ministry. Poland, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the International Commission governing the archive, now must inform the ICRC that the ratification is complete, the final step in the process.

“It’s a relief. It took a long time — far too long,” said Paul Shapiro of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has lobbied since 2001 to pry open the ITS archive.

“I am pleased that the archive of the International Tracing Service can now be opened for research,” said Guenter Gloser, a German deputy foreign minister responsible for Europe. “I would like to invite all researchers to make use of this, and work through this dark chapter of German history.”

Until now, the archive had been used exclusively to trace missing persons, reunite families and provide documentation to victims of Nazi persecution to support compensation claims. The U.S. government also has referred to the ITS for background checks on immigrants it suspected of lying about their past.

Meister said the ITS received 50 applications this month alone from academics and research organizations seeking to begin examining the archive — including untapped documents of communications among Nazi officials, camp registrations, transportation lists, slave labor files, death lists and postwar displaced persons files.

The records are unlikely to change the general knowledge of the Holocaust and the Nazi era, probably the most intensely researched 12-year period of the 20th century.

But its depth of detail and original documentation will add texture and detail to history’s worst genocide, and is likely to fuel a revival of academic interest in the Holocaust.

It also will help satisfy a hunger among Holocaust survivors and victims’ families to know more about their own backgrounds and the fate of loved ones. The archive’s index refers to 17.5 million people in its 16 linear miles of files.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a commission that normally met once a year.

The commission members are the United States, Britain, Germany, Israel, Poland, France, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands

Blacksheep Ancestors

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Ran across a site tonite I’ve never ever seen before, its really kind of cool. Tons of records here about prisoners and convicts conveniently categorized by state with all sorts of different records to read!!!

(its not just criminal stuff either, its got court documents pertaining to some other stuff as well)

I especially like the list of executions in 1880 in South Carolina…lots of pirates!!!

Black Sheep Ancestors

Look closely at the pictures, they are soldiers and sailors

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

During the WW I years, Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas Made some incredible human pictures by using Thousands of sailors or soldiers in uniform to create the following images. The pics are too big to post here and be able to see them properly, so please follow the links

Human Shield

Uncle Sam and American Eagle

Liberty Bell

Statue of Liberty

Bartow County, GA (genweb site)

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

This spotlight is on a county I never ever thought I’d have research in, Bartow County, GA. It seems my husband had a family member who’s confederate pension payments were transferred there about 1915. A search at the archives did not yield any pension records for this county, so I did what any genealogist “in the know” would do…. I looked for a genweb site. Normally I am SO disappointed in genweb sites, most I run into are run so poorly, with no effort by the administrator and no contribution by researchers that I almost hate looking one up, so imagine my surprise when I surfed my way to Bartow Co, GA and found such a wealth of information I felt like I’d found the pot at the end of the rainbow. Unfortunately there was nothing pertaining to confederate pensions, but this is what I DID find.

Marriage Record Transcripts and 15,024 Images online!!! Volunteers have taken the time to digitally record marriage records from 1837 to 1947. This is not just an index with names and dates, this is an actual image of the marriage record itself!!!

Cemetery Index – this is a very extensive index done by volunteers that includes not only names and dates of graves but notes of inscriptions on the graves and MANY photographs of the tombstones themselves. Each Cemetery includes directions with a google map as well.

Census records – they are working on transcribing the county census records (and are in need of volunteers to get this completed)

Funeral Record Index – these provide a wealth of information, tt has inclusions such as obituaries, a casket size by age chart, lists of county officials, hospitals, and transportation schedules. For each funeral, he lists: name, date and time of funeral, clergyman, date of burial, where buried, age, color, occupation, birthplace, last residence, husband’s name, father’s name and country of birth, mother’s name and country of birth, physician, cause of death, person ordering funeral, and relative’s names. The following costs may be included: removing remains, embalming, shaving and laying out, casket, mattress, burial robe, slippers, gloves, flowers, funeral notices, musicians, hearse, opening grave, vault charges, coaches, etc. The status of each account is also given. Some accounts have the song titles and pallbearers listed.

Newspaper Extracts – Volunteers are working transcribing many years and many different papers in the county including news stories and records of marriages and deaths. This is a FANTASTIC collection of information and includes such stories as the following

Transcribed by: Laurel Baty
We urge upon our town authorities the importance of discontinuing the burial of the dead in the grave yard formerly attached to the Baptist Church in this place, and the taking of steps for its removal. The town is rapidly building up in that direction, and it is located on one of the most commanding eminences around the place. By removing it, many more beautiful building lots will be brought into market, which, otherwise, will mar the uniformity of our streets and place, as well as bring the grave yard in the very heart of the private residence part of the town. Stop the interment of the dead there now, and it will not be a very great undertaking to remove those who have already been buried there, but let it continue another year or two, and it will be impractical to attempt it.

Obituaries – At the present they have over 4100 obituaries transcribed and online such as the following from 1867:

Transcribed by: Laurel Baty
A youth, James, son of Dr. William Anderson, who lives near Vellula, while fishing last Saturday, was bitten by a moccasin. From the effect of the wound inflicted, he died, Monday morning. His age was about fifteen years. Dr. Anderson was formerly of Cass county, in this state. Boys can’t be too careful in looking out for snakes, whose poison at this time is so fatal. They are no respecters for persons

There are other records as well, marriage announcements, wills, deeds, military records that you can search through.

This is one county that definitely has it together and has a crew of people that realize just how much they CAN help fellow researches that may not have the ability to travel to the county to do research onsite. While I have only been able to find one reference to anything in the Byers/Byars/Mashburn family I am researching, it was great to find the marriage record!!! I am never quite lucky enough to be able to find information from a family I am researching on a county site, but in this case it is certainly not from a failed genealogy site, I cannot say enough good things about Arlene Woody, the coordinator, and her crew for their perseverance and outstanding work. This is a group I would definitely recommend volunteering for if you had the time. I see this site only getting bigger and better!!!

Thanks for all you do and all you’ve provided!!

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